- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A judge ordered that another DNA sample be taken from Anna Nicole Smith’s body yesterday as he heard often-fiery arguments in the fight over the former Playboy Playmate’s remains and custody of her infant daughter.

The swab of Mrs. Smith’s cheek was to be taken in the afternoon, despite the objections of attorneys for her longtime companion, Howard K. Stern, and her estranged mother, Vergie Arthur, and testimony from the medical examiner and DNA specialists that such an additional sample was likely not necessary.

Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin said he wanted to ensure all samples were taken before Mrs. Smith was buried, so her body wouldn’t have to be exhumed.

“When we bury her, I want it to be forever,” he said in the second day of an emergency hearing.

Mrs. Smith, 39, died Feb. 8 after collapsing at a Florida hotel.

As the proceedings in Florida continued, investigators in the Bahamas went into a mansion that Mr. Stern and Mrs. Smith shared, though the officers declined to say why they were there. Mr. Stern had filed a burglary report, saying a computer, home videos and other items were taken from the house after Mrs. Smith’s death.

Mr. Stern says he is the executor of Mrs. Smith’s will and wants to have her buried next to her son in the Bahamas. Mrs. Arthur wants her daughter buried in her home state of Texas.

“She sits here today to take her to Texas and put her in the ground all alone … and it’s sad and it’s sick,” Mr. Stern’s attorney, Krista Barth, told the judge.

Mrs. Arthur’s attorney, Stephen Tunstall, said his client “wants to take her home to Texas to bury her with the rest of her family.”

Photographer Larry Birkhead hopes DNA taken from Mrs. Smith will help prove he fathered the former centerfold’s 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn, who could inherit millions.

The judge has said the dispute could be lengthy. The hearing, which began Wednesday, stretched into the afternoon yesterday and was to continue today.

Debra Opri, an attorney for Mr. Birkhead, said earlier that she was satisfied that DNA samples would be provided by Florida authorities. Miss Opri has said Mrs. Smith’s DNA is needed to connect her with Dannielynn and to help prove there was no baby switch.

Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, has said he had a decadelong affair with Mrs. Smith and may be the father. He said he plans to file a paternity challenge in court and wants a DNA test.

Mrs. Smith’s body remained at the medical examiner’s office, and Judge Seidlin said it would stay there. “This body’s not leaving Broward County till I make the ruling.”

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